Most photographers who like to organize their photos in an intuitive and easy-to-use way may have heard of the excellent Picasa. This was one of the best programs out there as far as managing and even editing images is concerned. The interface was sleek, the operation was smooth, and the system requirements weren’t too much either. The editing portion of the software was definitely limited, but for quick editing needs, it had enough going for it.
However, this excellent software was recently killed off and people looking for well-performing photo management programs were left wondering what they should use instead. Lightroom has always had great image management capabilities but not everyone wants to use such a heavy piece of software unless they’re using it to edit their RAW photos all the time. So, what other photo editing and management tools are out there that you can use on a budget?
1. Luminar 4
For those of you who want a combination of serious photo editing chops and a powerful image management system, Luminar 4 should be at the top of the list. Luminar 4 is a photo editor that rivals the likes of Lightroom and Capture One – both of which are much more expensive than Luminar 4. It offers a wealth of image editing capabilities, including RAW processing, in a package that is slick and performs excellently. With Luminar 4, you can use layers, curves, masks, and a lot more of such advanced tools to ensure that your photos are exactly the way you want them to be.
For those who want to use Luminar more as a Picasa alternative than a fully-powered image editor, there are quick and easy to use options as well. The excellent presets and filters that Luminar 4 offers are second to none, making it easy to perform some instant changes to your photos. Luminar 4 also offers a robust image management system where all your photos can be sorted in various ways. This makes it much easier for you to sift through your countless images in a clean and intuitive interface. You can filter your photos by Favorites, Recently Added, Recently Edited, and more. This kind of flexibility and the addition of very powerful image editing tools make Luminar 4 kind of an older brother to Picasa rather than a direct alternative.
You can get Luminar 4 for a one-off price of $89, which is far cheaper than some other equivalent editors.
Google Photos is perhaps a more direct alternative to Picasa in the sense that it is more of a photo management service than an image editor. The best part of using Google Photos is that all your images and videos are backed up to your account online so you have a lot of flexibility in terms of accessing your images on different devices. Google Photos can work on your desktop as well as on your phone. For the desktop version to work, you need to get Google’s Backup & Sync app and install it on your computer. From within this app, you can specify which files from your PC you want to upload to the online account.
The smartphone app for Google Photos works pretty simply. You just let the app know which device folders you wish to be backed up and that’s pretty much it. Google Photos also gives you the option to delete all those files from your device storage which have already been uploaded, making it easy to clean up your storage. Once everything is uploaded, you can search for your images in various ways. You can also use the Photos app to edit your images in a light manner, which is something akin to what you could do in Picasa.
The best part of Google Photos is that it’s free if you’re okay with Google compressing your images without a noticeable loss of quality. If you want to upload full-sized images, then you would need to buy additional storage since you get only 15GB for free.
Another program that combines the power of RAW editing with a strong photo management feature, ACDSee Photo Studio is designed for slightly experienced users. We say that because the interface of the software is a little too complicated for beginners to be at ease with. Other than the interface though, the program is a very good alternative to Picasa if you’re looking for a larger focus on image editing capabilities. ACDSee Photo Studio works quickly thanks to being well optimized. You can use convenient modules like Manage, Photos, View, Develop, and Edit to get your work done quickly.
Your images can be easily managed in the Manage module. Here, you can add labels, index scores, categories, and more to your images. Once you do these things, finding a particular image from countless ones will become much easier. In the Develop module, you can make edits to your photos using various tools that are also found in the likes of Lightroom.
All in all, ACDSee Photo Studio is a good choice if you’re willing to spend $8.90 per month or $99 once.
For the most demanding photographers who don’t mind spending $9.99 per month to use it, Lightroom CC is one of the best image editors available. It has been around for a very long time and has been improved with every iteration. Lightroom CC allows you to edit your RAW files in a lot of detail within a very slick interface that works well. Its integration with Photoshop means that you can easily share images between the two programs and edit to your heart’s content.
What makes Lightroom CC a good Picasa alternative is its excellent photo management tools. Lightroom CC does most of the work in this regard itself, with little to no input needed from your side. You can search for your images in various ways and also sort them how you like. You can also make custom albums to keep a certain type of images in one location. Overall, the management capabilities of Lightroom CC are some of the best you’ll find.
Zoner Photo Studio X is a software that’s suitable for all kinds of photographers, from casual to professional. It offers a good range of editing tools from basic ones like Crop and Rotate to much advanced ones like RAW processing. Some elements that would attract professionals include the cloning tool, the possibility to create HDRs, and the use of layer masks. For beginners, the software also comes with 38 creative presets and filters which can be your fix if you were reliant on the effects offered by Picasa.
The software also offers a strong photo management library that categorizes your photos by folder, keyword, date, and more. You can search within such parameters to find the images you want quickly and with ease. You can use Zoner Photo Studio X for a price of $4.99 per month.
If you want a free program to help organize your images and also edit them a little, look no further than Windows Live Photo Gallery. The program has been improved vastly by Microsoft and can now go toe to toe with similar free image viewers. Windows Live Photo Gallery takes help from facial recognition technologies to tag people in your images so you can easily search for them later. Images can also be geotagged with this program for even more ease in looking for them. The program looks and feels like a more powerful image editor rather than just a simple photo viewer. You can use the various features like cropping, rotating, and exposure control to make edits to how your images look. However, you can also dive deeper to edit highlights, shadows, and color temperature. There’s also a histogram here!
Other than these, there are other tools such as panorama stitching and Photo Fuse, which can be very fun and helpful to use. Sharing images from within the program and printing them is also very easy. All of this has made Windows Live Photo Gallery more of an image editor than it ever was, and that makes it an excellent free alternative to Picasa.
For Windows users, an option to manage their photos on their computers is Phototheca. This app has been designed keeping in mind the design cues from macOS, but it’s available for Windows which is kind of ironic. The app helps you organize your images, lightly edit them, and even share them easily. The idea behind Phototheca is to help you organize and sort your images more than anything else.
The free version of the software allows you to store up to 5000 images, which are quite a lot. You can sort images based on events, tags, dates, and locations. You can also have the software create Smart Albums itself so you don’t have to work too hard. One helpful addition to Phototheca is the Protected Photos feature by which you can easily lock certain images under a password for your privacy.
Photoscape is a free image editing software that is ideal for beginners and enthusiasts alike. The software allows you to preview images as well as edit them by adjusting exposure, colors, and more. You can also use the software to create GIFs. Some other notable features of the software include the ability to convert RAW images into JPEGs and to edit a batch of multiple images to save time. All of these features combined with an easy-to-understand design make Photoscape a useful piece of software to have on hand especially if you like making quick and simple adjustments to your photos before sharing them.
One of the fastest image viewers you’ll ever use, IrfanView has a cult following thanks to its versatility. It’s an image manager, photo viewer, and image editor all in one. The system resources this program uses are very small and that is why it works so quickly and easily. It works with various file types and helps you organize your images very well. It also comes with image editing tools that are sure to fit your needs if you’re looking to get some light editing done. You can make use of the batch processing engine to edit multiple photos quickly.
The only con we have regarding IrfanView is that its interface looks very dated and doesn’t fit well with modern OS designs. Despite that, it’s one of the best Picasa alternatives you can use today if you want some neat image organization and an image editor packed with features, in a package that’s free to use.
FastStone Image Viewer is yet another free program that is designed to provide stable and fast operation as far as viewing images and managing them is concerned. It also comes with many editing tools that are great for quickly adjusting images before sharing them online. FastStone Image Viewer doesn’t work too well with RAW files but is great at managing and editing JPEG images. You get various tools like red-eye removal, resizing, crossing, curves, heal, clone, sharpening, noise reduction, and color adjustments to make sure that your images are just the way you want them before you print or share them. It may not look as sleek as Picasa used to, but it sure is a worthy alternative.
11. macOS Photos
And lastly, we have Apple’s free Photos software that comes pre-installed on macOS. After Apple killed off iPhoto and Aperture, it created Photos which is a middle ground between the two older programs. Photos allows you to manage all your photos and view them easily. Finding your images is easy since the program plays very well with the OS and categorizes photos in various ways. The thing that makes Photos a great Picasa alternative is that it is packed with a lot of editing tools as well. When you open an image, you see a very clean UI with options like Light, Color, and Black & White visible on the right-hand pane. When you click on the small arrow next to each category, you get a whole lot more options to edit your images to your heart’s content.
Photos also supports plugins that turn it into a fully capable image editor for all kinds of images. This capability makes it an ideal choice for people who are currently not bothered with a lot of advanced editing tools but also want to have the option of expanding the usability of their current image editing program. Photos is a software perfect for that.
So, as you can now see, there are many great image editors and managers that can easily replace Picasa. Some of them have lesser features than Picasa while others can do much more. Whichever program you choose highly depends on your personal priorities so unless it’s free, always get your hands on the free trial first before you spend any money.